Philippines takes China maritime case to U.N. body

AFP-JIJI

The Philippines has taken China to a U.N. tribunal to challenge its claim to most of the South China Sea — including Philippine territory — Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario said Tuesday.

“The Philippines has exhausted almost all political and diplomatic avenues for a peaceful negotiated settlement of its maritime dispute with China. . . . We hope that the arbitral proceedings shall bring this dispute to a durable solution,” del Rosario told a news conference.

He said Manila had told Beijing’s ambassador about the decision to take China to an arbitration tribunal under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), a 1982 treaty signed by both countries.

In its submission, the Philippines said Beijing’s so-called nine-dash line outlining its territorial claims over most of the sea, including waters and islands close to its neighbors, is illegal, according to del Rosario.

It also demanded that China “desist from unlawful activities that violate the sovereign rights and jurisdiction of the Philippines under the 1982 UNCLOS,” he added.

China’s territorial claims overlap those of the Philippines as well as Brunei, Malaysia, Vietnam and Taiwan.